A big thank you to Dalton Signature for creating an image that captures and shares our language. This brings back memories. When I was young our parents would only say a few words in our language to us here and there. You see when they went to school it was frowned upon to speak your language in public or in school. So the only place that they were likely to hear the language is in the household. Even then they weren’t expected by our grandparents to speak the language for the most part.
When we got our few words they weren’t necessarily identified as Tlingit. You just learned them along with all the other words that people were saying around you. I’m thankful for the handful of words that I know in our language. I try to pass on the ones that I know to my own children. Identifying them and explaining them so they can have a sense of where they come from.
If you have kids you can see how often this word would come in to play. Especially when you have rough and tumble kids who play outside and run indoors with their scraped knees, elbows and slivers. Our parents, aunties, uncles, and Grandparents would hold us close and tell us “Eeshaan” and it would be okay after that. Back to playing.